When you put together a list of the NHL's most depressing teams, you'll probably see stuck-in-the-muck squads like the Minnesota Wild or Calgary Flames. (Well, the pre-Zach Parise/Ryan Suter Wild, at least.) Maybe you'll put the Florida Panthers on that list for the sake of longevity.
You know what team is starting to rise in my own pity power rankings, though? The Anaheim Ducks.
My guess is that the Ducks rarely get beat up much lately because they're just a few years removed from winning a Stanley Cup and still tend to squeeze into the playoffs every now and then. (Sure, this franchise might actually be dumb enough to burn the bridge with promising - and affordable - power forward Bobby Ryan, but the Ducks' slide toward mediocrity/outright putridity hasn't been well-documented.)
There was a time when I detested the Disney-era jerseys, but Earl Sleek made a great argument that those goofy uniforms gave the team an identity. Considering the "glorified watermark/font" the team has been working with since that first Stanley Cup-winning season, Sleek might be right.
Which recently made me wonder: should the Ducks go all-out, balls-to-the-wall cute?
To me, it's a no-brainer.
- The most important point is that ducks won't ever intimidate anyone as a mascot. (Yes, Chris Pronger elbowing and stomping people while wearing a Ducks jersey was very intimidating, but that wouldn't change anyway.)
- If the Buffaslug taught us anything, it's that you can sell a bunch of jerseys with an off-beat design, absorb the disgust from fans and then go back to a more traditional look once the P.T. Cruiser-ugly-trendiness subsides.
- Women will love it: this is always a good thing, especially since you wouldn't have to pander with pink.
- Sarcasm sells. Can you imagine how many people might honestly troll Corey Perry by purchasing an cuddly Ducks sweater with Perry's name on the back? If nothing else, it would push the "attempted irony" button down, hard.
* - Seriously, they've totally botched the Bobby Ryan situation.